Indian History: Indus Valley Civilization

By Asha Gupta|Updated : November 13th, 2021

Complete coverage of syllabus is a very important aspect for any competitive examination but before that important subject and their concept must be covered thoroughly. In this article, we are going to discuss the fundamental of Indian History: Indus Valley Civilization



The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the world's oldest civilizations, along with the Mesopotamia Civilization in Iraq and Ancient Egypt Civilization.

The Indus Valley Civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization as Harappa was the first and the most important site of the Indus Valley Civilization.

The Indus Valley Civilization has spread in 12,60,000 sq. km, including Pakistan, some parts of India, Afghanistan, and Iran (Persia).

The materials found during the excavations and the basis of the radiocarbon dating show spread Indus Valley Civilization from the year 2500-1750 B.C.

The first site discovered was Harappa which discovered by Dr D.R. Sahani in the year 1921 on the banks of the river Ravi and Mohanjodaro in the year 1922 by R.D. Banerjee on the banks of the river Indus. Sir John Marshall played an important role in both the excavations.

Indus Valley Civilization forms part of the Proto History of India and belongs to the Bronze Age.

The population of the Indus Valley Civilization consists of the Mediterranean, Proto-Australoid, and Mongoloids.

The use of Gold, Silver, Copper and Bronze was there, but the use of Iron was completely unknown.

Majore Sites of Indus Valley Civilization:

  • Harappa- Daya Ram Sahani 1921 
  • Mohanjodaro- R.D. Banerjee-1922 
  • Amri- M.G. Majumdar-1929 
  • Chanhudaro- M.G. Majumdar-1931 
  • Kalibanga- Amlanand Ghosh-1953 
  • Lothal- S.R. Rao-1957
  • Banwali- R.S. Bisht-1973 
  • Surkotada- Jagat Pal Joshi-1964 
  • Dholavira- Jagat Pal Joshi- 1967 
  • Ropar- Y.D.Sharma- 1953 
  • Rangpur- M.S. Vats- 1931


It was founded in the year 1921 by Mr Dayaram Sahani. It is situated near the Sahiwal district of Pakistan on the banks of the river Ravi.

The Great Granary was found here, measuring 169 feet X 35 feet. A naked sandstone torso was found, which also gives traces of Jainism.

Stone symbols of female genitals Single room barrack.


It was founded in the year 1922 by Mr R.D. Banerjee. It is situated in the Larkana district of Pakistan on the banks of the river Indus.

It is derived from the Sindhi word, which means the "Mound of the Dead."

Evidence of direct trade relations with the Mesopotamia Civilization:

  • The Great Bath. 
  • The multi pillared assembly hall. 
  • A piece of woven cloth.
  • Stamp/Seal with the image of the Pashupati Mahadev.
  • Statue of the bearded man.

Mohenjodaro was the most advanced city of the Indus Valley Civilization. The roads were wide and straight and were 33 feet wide. The roads run in the North-South direction, and the other roads run in the East-West direction, and they both cut each other at right angles.


  • It was founded in the year 1953 by Mr Amlanana Ghosh.
  • It was situated near the Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan on the banks of the river Ghaggar.
  • The word Kalibanga means the Black Bangles.
  • The ploughed field at Kalibanga is the most important discovery of that time.
  • A wooden wheel was found here, which also proves that the people of Kalibanga use the bullock carts.
  • Bones of camels are found here.
  • The tiled floor was found here, which has the design of intersecting circles.
  • Human head with long oval eyes and thick lower lips.
  • Two types of burial were found here Burials in the circular grave
  • Burials in the rectangular grave.


  • It was founded in the year 1931 by M. G. Majumdar.
  • Chahudaro was situated on the eastern side of the river Indus in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
  • Chanudharo has three different cultural layers Indus Culture, Jhukar Culture and Jhangar Culture.
  • It was the only site in the Indus Valley Civilization without the Citadel.
  • During the excavations, a small pot, bullock carts and ekkas, footprints of the elephant and the dog chasing the cat.


  • It was founded in the year 1957 by S.R. Rao.
  • It is situated near the Gulf of Khambatt in Gujarat.
  • An artificial dockyard was found here. It was the most important port city of the Indus Valley Civilization.
  • A boat made up of Terracotta was found here, which gives the traces that they have trade relations with the other civilizations of the world.
  • Found evidence of rice here as the rice granary at Rangpur near Ahemadabad in Gujarat.
  • Found terracotta statue of the horse, The seal which has the design of the ship.
  • A printed jar that resembles the story of the cunning fox, which is also mentioned in the Panchatantra.
  • A compass-like measuring instrument was found which can measure the angles of 1800, 900 and 450
  • Found evidence of double burial, i.e. male and female, were found in the single grave, which also gives the traces of Sati practice.
  • Evidence of chess-like games.

Economic Life of the Indus Valley Civilization:


The Indus plains were made fertile by the annual inundation of the river Indus. This river carried far more alluvial soil than many other contemporary rivers like the Nile in Egypt. The farmers sowed their seeds in November when the floodwaters receded and reaped their harvests in April before the next floods. They must have produced enough to provide for the people in villages and cities. They produced wheat, barley, rice, sesamum, mustard etc. They also produced significant quantities of cotton.

Technology, arts & crafts:

The people of the Indus Valley Civilization well know the mining technique; the best example of this can be seen from the nearby mines of Khetri in Rajasthan, which is famous for its copper. Probably brought "Tin" from mines in Bihar or Afghanistan. The number of artefacts left behind by the Indus Valley Civilization suggests that there were a large group of bronze smiths who not only made utensils but also made various kinds of tools as well. There is evidence that suggests that they may also have practised weaving, possibly using spindle whorls. Whatever buildings have been excavated seems to have been made of brick, indicating that brick-laying must also have been an important occupation. Besides the above, people of the Indus Valley Civilization must also have followed the occupations of seal-making, goldsmiths, pottery, bead making etc.


The discovery of the artificial brick dockyard at Lothal and the seals having the pictures of the boat gives the traces that the people of the Indus Valley Civilization have a trade relationship with the other civilizations of the world, such as the Mesopotamia civilization.

There was also internal trading as they used the bullock carts for transportation. The unit of measurement was 16 (16, 64, and 160,320).

Script and Language:

The script of the Indus Valley Civilization is pictographic, which has around 600 pictographs. The writing style of the Indus Valley Civilization is known as "Boustrophedon", i.e., they write the first line from right to left and the second line from left to right. The language of the Indus Valley Civilization is still unknown.

Causes of Decline Indus Valley Civilization:

The definite cause of decline for the Indus Valley Civilization is still elusive since there are no written records of the period, and there are various speculations from the historians.

There are four main reasons behind the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, as concluded by historians.

  1. Due to a decrease in soil fertility.
  2. Due to the increase of salinity in the water from the neighbouring deserts.
  3. Due to natural calamities such as Earthquake, Flood, Famine etc.
  4. Aryans, when they came to India, they destroyed the Indus Valley Civilization.


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